Relentless: The Blog
Last week I shared with all of you my nomination for One Lovely Blog. It was the most pleasant surprise to receive the email from Susan, the woman that nominated me, telling me of the news. I would never have imagined that I would even be a candidate for such a thing. The honor felt even greater because she is a writer, she has been well schooled in the art of writing and has spent her lifetime and career immersed in the craft. Me, well I remember having a class in high school, perhaps even college, but they've left very little impression on me. I just sat down and wrote, which I know she would say makes me a writer but I believe its important that you understand we are on varying parts of the that writer scale. So, after having read the contents of her email I was filled to the brim with gratitude and unbridled joy. I felt like a little girl, bouncing around my day and wanting to share my news with anyone I encountered. The last time I recall feeling this way was when I was in the third grade, almost 40 years ago.
I received the news from my third grade teacher, Miss Fartley, that she thought I should be tested for the school's gifted program. I adored Miss Fartley, for each school day she shared with us the most pure and genuine hugs. To think that she saw something a bit different in me left me feeling what I would now call a sense of pride and honor.
I rushed home to share what I believed to me worthy news to my parents. My mother's response was despondent, her focus more on the chicken she was cooking rather than me, who stood bouncing with enthusiasm beside her. I remained faithful that my father would share my joy, as for years he had been nothing but rageful in regards to my brother's poor academic records.
After finishing my dinner I bounded over to his chair and gleefully shared with him my news. For his part, he turned to his right to look at me, pointed his finger at me and in a hostile voice said, "Don't you ever think you're better than anyone else!"
I would like to say that I don't recall feeling better than anyone, just a simple sense of being "seen" and recognized in some way. After my father's words I felt the fool for ever considering that I might have something special to offer the world. I slunk away with a shame that far outweighed the pride I had been feeling, and that's where a large part of me remained, never willing to shine a light on or openly embrace my own gifts as a unique and worthy essence. That is, until I read Susan's email.
That present would have been enough, I certainly was not digging in the bottom of that gift bag for any more hidden treasures, but I found one any way. She had reconnected me to an emotion that I had not experienced since that third grade event but as the day wore on and the effervescent energy settled, I found myself sobbing. Always seeking to understand myself, I delved into the meaning of those tears and what I found was unexpected and shocking.
With the One Lovely Blog nomination I felt as though I was receiving the validation that I sought all my life. Someone saw me as worthy and meaningful. Please know I've received support and encouragement from my husband and friends in regards to my work and I'm appreciative of that, but what Susan had offered me felt more pure somehow. There was nothing she had to gain and our relationship with one another is not something that would oblige her to act in such a way. For me it felt as though she went back in time to that little girl as she stood crestfallen in the kitchen, took her by the hand to lead her out of that scene and said, "You are special. I see your light, and it's okay to shine." It continues to bring me to tears as I allow the healing to take place and my heart to overflow with an even greater gratitude.
For you, dear readers, I hope that you too find a moment or a person that allows you to shine in all your glory. It is reminiscent of the sage words I share from Marianne Williamson on my website, "... And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same..." So, I will shine in hopes that you will too.
Be well and happy.
October 27, 2014
Anam Cara Kellie's "Relentless" Blog is thrilled to receive a
2014 nomination for "One Lovely Blog" and would like to thank Susan Weidener and the Women's Writing Circle for this honor.
The Practice of Practicing
There are many things I've written in these blogs that aren't news to many of my readers. The knowledge I share has been offered by numerous others in varying forms and fashions, and that's as it should be for repetition and practice appears to be one of our modalities of learning in this journey of life in which we are being schooled.
To many of those I encounter I stress that the information and techniques I share only work if they work and utilize them. This, of course, sounds fairly obvious but it has been my observation that the art of practicing our teachings is where many fall short. The society in which we live is all about the quick fix and the magical pill we can pop to cure us. The processes of self-growth and awareness are indeed magical but by no means are they the fast train to ultimate bliss. They require consistent effort, and plodding if you will, on our part in order that they may be the most effective.
After all, there are very few things that we've learned that didn't require repeated and prolonged practice, like walking for example. Just as we didn't master this skill in one fell swoop, so too do we have to "fall down and get back up" as we explore spiritual and personal growth, striving to develop a new skill set. If we never had the courage to pull ourselves back to standing after that first fall, or worse yet never dared to walk at all, we would remain stagnant and stymied in our world. This truth applies to every new tool we seek to utilize, each requires a determined approach that can only come from within. Walking was demonstrated by others as they meandered about. Parents support and encourage as children strive to perfect the art of personal locomotion, but never can anyone actually do the walking for you, the true drive comes from within and takes years to fully master the coordination of the growing and developing muscles.
As we seek to develop these new practices and "muscles" we can go nowhere without applied and continual personal effort. Attending a class or reading a book is not the only level in personal growth, simply the first, as this is not an osmotic process. The healers and teachers of our world will may "carry you" at times, as a parent would a young or tired child, but always you are released to explore the world and practice. It's one of the most simple and unwavering truths of growth.
I implore you to commit to making you, and the newest knowledge shared with you, a priority. The habits of our past are embedded deeply on all levels of our being and it is only with self commitment that we will slowly but surely make our way out of the confines of the old, which truly are tried but oft times no longer true to our present.
Be well and happy.
October 20, 2014
For the past couple of weeks my family and I have been hosting a German exchange student. I spent an abundance of time and effort in making our home as welcome as humanly possible for him. Closets were cleaned, walls painted, carpet installed, windows washed and dust removed from every reachable crevice. Granted, all these projects were necessary whether he was visiting or not, but I was just hell bent to complete them before he stepped through our doorway. I wanted him to feel a sense of comfort and pleasure as he entered our world, so foreign to him.
Despite all of my best efforts, there were some spots that refused to sparkle. Our property has well water, the only downside to that being that it contains a high mineral count which stains various fixtures in the bathroom. While I'm aware there are numerous noxious chemicals on the market that might assist me in the battle against the stains, I opt to remain as Earth friendly as possible thus, the stains remain. The blemish free ambiance I had hoped to create was now marred and I was a bit embarrassed, concerned about what he would think about what appeared to be just plain old dirt in the sink and tub.
Upon his arrival to our house we gave him a bit of a tour and like any shame-filled person would do, I pointed out the imperfections, giving full explanation of how they came to be and why they remain. As I relayed my story to this fourteen year old boy I was fully aware that I sounded like the neurotic fool I was embodying at that moment. Fully embracing that role, I closely scrutinized his reaction and facial expression in attempts to ascertain his assessment of me and my "filthy" home; I came up empty handed. There were no signs of disgust. He treated my confessions as lightly as if I had shared something as mundane as my brand of toilet paper.
Looking back, I see my sharing was just as important as sharing our toilet paper brand; meaning it was unimportant on every level. My compulsive need to address what was wrong in my home was far more strange than the grey stains embedded in the porcelain sinks. In a matter of five minutes of being in our house, this youthful stranger was bringing to me a gift I can now see after having taken some time to reflect.
What had taken priority in my mind was the fact that everything wasn't perfect and I felt apologetic about that fact. Never mind that the other 99.9% of our surroundings was glowing and warm, my focus was on the flaws that remained. That was when I saw the correlation once again between our home and me.
Just like I spent great efforts to improve our home, so too have I invested a lot of energy in tending to my inner world. For over 25 years I've plowed through the fields of my past in attempts to heal from my wounds of childhood physical and sexual abuse. This is no small task, and while I have made leaps and bounds in my personal growth, there are still some scars that remain. The scars on my soul are there for all to see, as glaring and unsightly at times as the stains in the bathrooms. I too have been impacted by my environment in a way that can not be washed away. And just as I have no control over the mineral content of our water and its impact, neither did I have control over the people of my past and their impact on me.
If my home is a mirror image of me, then I must consider that my beauty is greater than my scars and is of no concern or consequence to others. There is no need to offer explanations or apologize for those scars; this is the blessing this sweet soul had traveled across the sea to impart to me. He was offering me a new level of unapologetic self acceptance. My heart softly whispers a thank you to him.
While I had hoped that our time together would offer many wondrous things, this was not something I had imagined. Paying it forward is something that allows love to blossom in our society, and so to you I offer this gift so unassumingly given to me: Love yourself unapologetically, scars and all.
Be well and happy.
October 13, 2014
Emotional Roller Coaster
It often feels as if our emotions are taking us on a ride, one which many of us are ill prepared to manage. Instead of strapping on our safety harness we usually exit the attraction, making our way to a perceived calmer excursion; something akin to the Lazy River. The Lazy River allows us to tune out as we mindlessly drift along the waters of life, never to contemplate the lessons our feelings seek to impart to us.
It seems as though emotions are to be avoided at all costs, the dirty little secrets we all conceal in our back pocket. Very few of us know what our true feelings are, most emotions being relegated to an overly simplistic "good" or "bad". When we're not feeling "good", that's bad and all "bad" feelings are to be denied lest we appear fragile or unstable. In fact we're so inept at identifying our feelings that mental health professionals have created charts that list possible feelings, along with caricatures that depict our emotional options so that we may more clearly name those rascals.
Never having been taught the fine art of embracing our own emotions, we are left ill prepared to handle others'. We feel overly responsible each time the wind blows another's emotions in our direction and in fact we clearly blame one another for every feeling that passes through us with statements such as, "You made me feel...". Believing that our feelings are solely at the mercy of others only supports the notion that they are a volatile and unstable experience that is best circumvented.
Nevertheless, each and every one of us endures a plethora of emotions throughout each and every day of our lives. I suggest it would be more wise to ponder the purpose of emotions, as they appear to be going nowhere fast, rather than dashing behind doors and under tables in an effort to escape them.
It's important to understand that our many emotions are not a barometer of our personal value. We've been programmed to believe that certain feelings, anger for instance, is unacceptable and is only for those with no self control; only maniacs and fools feel angered. It's not "nice" to feel angry. As a result, anger is "swallowed down" by its owner, only to seek expression somewhere further in time in a more explosive form, rage aimed towards ourselves or another. In our minds, this again supports the notion that emotions are a frightening foe of humanity. In truth, if we honor that initial feeling of anger and its appropriate expression, the rage may be averted. The lesson: honor your feelings for they will find an avenue of release and usually it's not one in which you will feel fully capable of dealing with them.
Denying and ignoring our feelings doesn't make them go away, that's magical thinking. Our emotions are comprised of energy, as is everything on this plane. If feelings are not given a voice from a place of consciousness they will lie embedded in our body and psyches creating physical illness and further psychological strife. Their impact and expression will come with greater intensity than if originally faced head on.
Most of us have been fed the the unhealthy message that we have "no right" to our feelings. Many of our efforts to share our emotions are hit with resistance as another strongly interjects their belief that we shouldn't feel angry, sad, etc. Others will make attempts to talk us out of what we are feeling so that they might feel more comfortable in dealing with us or the situation.
Truly, a feeling is just another tool for us to utilize and understand ourselves more fully. It would be a much healthier approach if we clearly label the feeling, not measuring its importance or lack of, but instead allow it to share its teaching with us. If I'm feeling depressed for instance, what is the source of that depression and what do I need? I might ask the depression what it has come to offer or teach me. Emotions allow us a measurable format with which we are able to engage with our world.
The quickest and easiest way to deal with our emotions, or those of another, is to simply state the feeling or mirror what you hear another saying. Your child comes home from school complaining about the teacher, instead of lecturing them and unconsciously attempting to sway their experience, a simple comment such as, "So you're feeling frustrated?" or "It sounds like you feel..", goes a long way towards healing. In honoring the feeling we create a space for that individual, or ourselves, to move beyond it and access the larger picture in a situation. When we refuse to address an emotion directly we are more likely to cling to it, making it larger and more intense than its original state, as we seek validation. The goal in speaking to others about their feelings isn't to agree with them or even understand them, we are simply there to mirror for that individual and provide a means of support.
Which leads us to the fact that we are all responsible for our own emotions. We might have an emotional reaction based on another's actions, but ultimately no one can make us feel anything we don't allow. Yeah, I know that's a tough one to comprehend because we live in such a reactionary environment, but truly no other person can control our emotions. If you've ever tried to make another feel happy, for instance, and they remained despondent, then you understand your powerlessness to change another's feelings. We are our own captains and not the victims of others.
There is no "right" way to feel, feelings just "are". It's not in feeling that we error, but instead what we do, or don't do, with its presence. Emotions are a magical opportunity to delve into our inner world as we seek greater compassion, connection and understanding for ourselves and those in our lives. I invite you to embrace the wisdom and wonder of these sage teachers.
Be well and happy.
October 6, 2014
Services rendered through Anam Cara Kellie are not meant as a substitute for medical or psychological diagnosis or treatment.
It is recommended you see a licensed physician or health care professional for any physical or psychological issues you may have.
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